Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragon

lance blennyAspidontus dussumieri has an elongate body with a long-based dorsal fin, and is white with a dark stripe from the eye to the caudal fin. The mouth is positioned ventrally below the rounded snout, and there is a large fang on either side of the lower jaw. This species grows to 12cm in length. It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is known from the central to north-western coasts of Western Australia and from the northern coast of Queensland to central New South Wales.

lancewoodAcacia shirleyi forms a distinct habitat from eucalypt woodlands which often abut it. Typically there is far less grass in lancewood or lancewood/bulwaddy forests, and this open understorey supports a different suite of animals to that of the eucalypt woodlands. Common species include grey-crowned babbler, apostlebird and hooded robin, which all forage in the open ground or litter; and the spectacled hare-wallaby and northern nailtail wallaby, which commonly shelter under bulwaddy trees during the day. Fire appears to be a major controller of the boundary between eucalypt woodlands and lancewood/bulwaddy patches. Lancewood also grows in almost mono-specific stands across extensive areas of the Northern Territory and central Queensland.

Land Act 1910 (Qld)—regulated dealings with land in the state of Queensland for 84 years. Pastoral leases were granted under this Act, the effects of which were later to be challenged in the Wik case. This Act was repealed by the Land Act, 1994 (Qld).

Land Act 1994 (Qld)—consolidates and amends the law relating to the administration and management of non-freehold land and deeds of grant in trust, and the creation of freehold land. Land may be dedicated to be a reserve, and unallocated state land may also be granted in trust for a community purpose, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community purposes. The Act makes special provisions that apply only to Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) land granted for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inhabitants or for Aboriginal and Islander purposes.

Land Council—any of the four Aboriginal Land Councils of the Northern Territory.

land entry permit—an ‘Entry Permit to Enter Aboriginal Land'. Under the Land Rights Act, entry into Aboriginal land is restricted. The due process is to apply for a land entry permit through one of the established Land Councils.

Land Fund—(the...) the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund.

Land Fund and Indigenous Land Corporation (ATSIC) Act, 1995 (Cth)—established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund, which took over the money allocated to the land fund established by the Native Title Act. Under the new fund, land management money was to be spent on any Indigenous-held properties, not just those acquired under the fund. Land acquired by the Indigenous Land Council was to be granted to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander corporations. The fund's operating details were also now contained in the act rather than left to regulations.

land mullet—Australia's largest skink, Egernia major, is a shy and swift-moving lizard, usually seen basking in the sun.

land of nod—asleep: e.g., He's in the land of nod at the moment and can't come to the blower.

Land of the Southern Cross—Australia.

Land Rights Act—1. the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act, 1976 (ALRA). 2. Aboriginal Land Rights (New South Wales) Act, 1983.

Land Tribunals (Qld)—the Aboriginal Land Tribunal and the Torres Strait Island Land Tribunal. Established under the Queensland Land Acts in 1991, the tribunals are set up to hear land claims by Indigenous people, and to make recommendations regarding land available to them.

land with (one's) bum in the butter—to experience good luck, fortune, especially after a series of bad circumstances.

Langi Ghiran State Park—rugged granite peaks and gentle sloping woodlands are the dominant features of this park. A pleasant walk to the mountain summit presents a view of ancient red gums on the surrounding plains skirted by Mount Buangor in the east and the Grampians in the distant west. Lar-ne-jeering (Langi Ghiran) is from the Djab Wurrung language meaning ‘home of the black cockatoo’. There are two reservoirs in the Park which were built from local granite blocks in the 1880s. The main reservoir forms part of Ararat's water supply. A 'spot mill' for extracting timber was built on the northern slopes in 1940 but was short lived. Today little evidence remains to remind us of the mill's past operation. The Langi Ghiran State Park is 14km east of Ararat, Victoria, covering an area of 2695ha.

langouste—any of several edible marine crustaceans of the families Homaridae and Nephropsidae and Palinuridae genus Palinurus. Also known as crayfish, rock lobster, spiny lobster . They are warm-water lobsters without claws; those from Australia and South Africa are usually marketed as frozen tails; caught also in Florida and California.

lantana—introduced from the Americas as an ornamental species and still readily available from nurseries, the environmental impacts of lantana's introduction to Australia have been severe. Throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria, the plant currently covers over 4 million hectares. Lantana is a very successful coloniser of disturbed sites. Lantana biocontrol agents have been released in Australia since 1914. Many of the agents are specific to one or several of the 29 different lantana varieties found now found here. Biological control of lantana is a long-term control option and has had mixed results. The objective is to reduce plant viability and prevent its further spread by stressing plants and reducing seeding processes. In some cases it has resulted in die-back of the lantana plants.

lap dog—an obsequious, fawning, servile person.

large-blotched pythonAntaresia stimsoni; most specimens are boldly patterned with dark dorsal and lateral blotches. The blotches tend to be rounded with smooth margins. Adult large-blotched pythons retain a contrasting pattern as they age. Average adult size: 26"-36". They are egg layers and the females brood their eggs, which are laid approximately 115 days after mating. Depending on temperature, eggs are incubated for an average of 50 days. Hatchlings may slit the egg, and remain inside it for another 24 hours, during which they are absorbing the remainder of the yolk sac. Most are quite placid. Found from the centre of Australia to the west coast. Also known as Stimson’s python.

large-footed myotisMyotis adversus, small bats that live in caves, tunnels, under bridges and in trees in eastern and northern Australia. They are about 5cm long with a grey-brown back and grey belly. They have very large feet to help them catch insects from the water and narrow wings to help them fly fast. They hunt for food at night, flying over creeks, dragging their large, clawed hind feet through the water to catch fish and insects. They find flying insects by echo-location, emitting a sound that is inaudible to humans. Females can give birth to one live young three times a year. The young bats are born helpless and without hair and hold onto their mother's belly. The young bats feed on milk from nipples located under their mother's armpits until they are old enough to look for food themselves.

lark—1. amusing incident; prank: e.g., What a lark that was! 2. joke, tease, play pranks: e.g., He was only larking.

Lark Quarry Conservation Park—in this park you can see hundreds of dinosaur footprints, preserved in rock (the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways). The 374ha park also protects the landscape around the quarry—flat-topped hills studded with spinifex, and sandy areas with stunted eucalypts and lancewood scrub on top of Tully Range. Stark as it is, this landscape is ecologically important. The park is about 90 minutes’ drive from the heritage town of Winton in western Queensland.

Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways—is the best example of dinosaur tracks in the world. They depict the world's only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede. The Trackways features some 3,300 footprints, made by nearly 200 individual dinosaurs, telling a story of a few fateful moments, 95 million years ago. During the Cretaceous Period, 95 million years ago, this area was a temperate rainforest surrounding a lake used as a waterhole for many of the wildlife. It is believed that the coelurosaurs and ornithopods were at the lake until disturbed by a large carnosaur when possibly it was coming for a drink but discovered a meal instead. The fossilised footprints then show how the carnosaur stalked for its meal and then grabbed one whilst the other dinosaurs began to flee in panic. It can be seen how they fled because some footprints are embedded on previous footprints of the Carnosaur. The three main dinosaur tracks present belong to small tracks from the carnivorous coelurosaurs, which were about 13cn to 22cm at the hip, or the size of chickens; medium sized groups of tracks from the herbivorous ornithopods, which were 12cm to 70 cm at the hip, or the size of emus; and the large track of one flesh eating carnosaur, each footprint nearly 60cm long and 2.6m at the hip. The Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways are set in the most awe inspiring landscape—amid the red earth, spinifex and jump up country. Located in the Lark Quarry Conservation Park, Queensland.

Larrakia—the language group name for the Aboriginal people of Darwin, in the Top End of the Northern Territory. Larrakia people are often referred to as "saltwater people", although their boundaries extend up to approx. 50km inland.

larrikin—hooligan; loutish youth; rough, rowdy, boisterous young man.

Larumbanda—an Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

lash out—1. spend money freely; not to worry about the expense: e.g., We lashed out and bought some new clothes. 2. denounce, castigate, criticise severely.

lashing—a severe scolding: e.g., The principal gave the boys a lashing.

lashings—plenty; lots of: e.g., I'll have lashings of cream on my peaches.

lashings of splosh—wealthy; a lot of money.

Lasiorhinus angustidens—synonym Phascolomys angustidens De Vis, 1891, Remarks on post-Tertiary Phascolomyidae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales [original combination]; Lasiorhinus angustioens de Vis, 1891 (orthological error). Originally described as Phascolomys angustidens, it was transferred to the genus Lasiorhinus by Dawson, Dawson, L. (1983). The taxonomic status of small fossil wombats (Vombatidae: Marsupialia) from Quaternary deposits, and of related modern wombats. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. Molnar, R. E. and Kurz, C. (1997). The distribution of Pleistocene vertebrates on the eastern Darling Downs, based on the Queensland Museum collections. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales.

Lasseter, Harold—(see: Lasseter's Cave).

Lasseter's Cave—Lewis Harold Bell Lasseter was a gold prospector, stranded without provisions when his camels bolted in 1931. He sheltered in a tiny cave alongside the running waters of the Hull River, waiting for his relief party to find him. After 25 days, he set out to walk to the Olgas, but made just 55km before dying. Located along the Gunbarrel Highway from Warakurna in the Northern Territory. Once you cross the NT border, camping is only permitted at Tjunti until you reach Yulara.

laterite—a highly weathered, red subsoil that is rich in secondary oxides of iron and/or aluminium. Laterite is neither a mineral nor a complete soil. Over millions of years, weathered sandstone becomes both chemically and mechanically decomposed to form a soft, soil-like layer composed of oxides of iron and aluminium. Its texture is crumbly when formed, but exposure to air hardens it into pea-shaped nodules and solid boulders. Laterite develops in wet-tropical and warm to temperate regions, and is a residual product of weathered sandstone.

lateritic podsolic soils—have light coloured, sandy horizons over a concretionary ironstone horizon over mottled or white leached clay. They are mildly to strongly acidic throughout and are strongly weathered and leached. They usually occur on ancient lateritic land surfaces. Extensive areas of these soils occur in north Australia, in south-western Western Australia and in South Australia. In the natural state they carry heath vegetation and low mallee. They are extremely deficient in phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as in trace elements. However, clearing costs are low, and so in the winter rainfall areas of Western Australia very considerable areas of these soils are now being developed for improved pastures, with blue lupin or subterranean clover as the pioneer crop.

lather—1. a state of agitation, anxiety: e.g., He's in a lather over his coming wedding. 2. to beat, bash someone.

Latje Latje—an Aboriginal tribe of the Murray-Darling Basin, for perhaps over 70,000 years. Their relationship with the land can be traced through their Dreaming stories of the creation of the river and the many sites along the riverbanks and throughout the basin. Sites commonly found in the basin include middens, burials, culturally modified trees and other archaeological sites. These sites became protected by law in 1972 under the Victorian Archaeological and Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act. Before these Acts came into force, the shells from the middens were used by farmers as road building material.

Latrobe Basin—a series of streams flow south from the Great Divide and north from the Strzelecki Ranges to the Latrobe River, which rises in north-west Victoria and flows south-easterly to Moe, then easterly across the Gippsland Plains to Lake Wellington. Major tributaries of the Latrobe River are Toorongo, Tanjil and Tyres Rivers from the northern highlands, the Moe River from the west, and the Morwell River and Traralgon Creek from the Strzelecki Ranges in the south. Major storages in the basin are Blue Rock Lake, Moondarra Reservoir, Yallourn Storage and Hazelwood Pondage. Water quality is generally poor in the major streams of the basin, particularly in the central zone of the Latrobe River, which is subject to discharge and pollution from urban, mining and industrial activities. Many streams in the central zone have been found to have poor bank vegetation cover, bank instability and sediment build up. The Latrobe Basin comprises deep and shallow aquifers. An extensive program of groundwater pumping has taken place at Morwell to de-water the mining area. In drought years groundwater has provided a valuable supplement to power station requirements. Groundwater extraction has caused a major decrease in the Latrobe Basin aquifer levels.

Latrobe Valley—while the Latrobe River flows into Lake Wellington to the east of Sale and includes in its drainage basin a significant part of central Gippsland, the region conventionally known as the Latrobe Valley occupies a smaller area centred on the three major towns of Moe, Morwell and Traralgon, between the Strzelecki Ranges to the south and the westernmost reaches of the Australian Alps to the north. The valley is moderately broad though not fertile despite the damp climate (because of the age of the soil). Nevertheless, the region is the most densely settled part of Gippsland owing to the vast deposits of brown coal, which have given rise to a major electricity industry supplying most of Victoria's electricity needs. Each of the Latrobe Valley's three main towns boasts about 20,000 people, while the smaller town of Churchill to the south hosts a campus of Monash University. Logging is also an important industry in the hills to the north and south, with a major paper mill located at Maryvale, near Traralgon. In the rugged north of the region is located the historic gold-mining town of Walhalla, amid mountains forming the west of Alpine National Park and nearby Baw Baw National Park, a minor winter ski resort.

laugh at the lawn—to vomit.

laugh like a drain—laugh copiously; guffaw.

laugh on the other/wrong side of (one's) face—experience displeasure, humiliation, disappointment, embarrassment.

laugh up (one's) sleeve—to secretly, inwardly scoff at, ridicule, laugh at.

laughing—in an extremely satisfactory, fortunate or advantageous position: e.g. If I win lotto at the weekend, I'll be laughing!

laughing gear—the mouth: e.g., Wrap your laughing gear around these lamingtons.

laughing jackass—(see: laughing kookaburra).

laughing kookaburraDacelo novaguinea, an Australian kingfisher that makes a raucous, stuttering call that is often likened to laughter. Family groups of up to a dozen chorus together, producing a cacophony that proclaims their territory. The more birds, the louder the chorus and the stronger the territorial claim. Young from previous years help to raise their siblings by providing up to about 60% of the food. The kookaburra nests in hollows in trees, or tunnels into arboreal termite mounds. They feed on small birds, snakes, lizards, rodents, various insects and other invertebrates. It is a large bird of 400-450mm, often seen sitting on the backyard Hill's Hoist. Also known as the laughing jackass.

Launceston—the second largest city in Tasmania. Launceston was settled in 1806 when Governor King sent a small expeditionary force under Lieutenant Colonel William Paterson to protect against French incursion to the area. Paterson set up camp at George Town, soon moved to York Town, and finally made a permanent settlement at Launceston in 1806. The next year, Launceston was named as the main settlement at Port Dalrymple. The name came into general use from about 1818 and also gradually became the name for the local port, replacing the name of Port Dalrymple. By 1824, Launceston had become the official headquarters of the island¹s northern military command. By the 1830s, the town was being used as a port of call by whalers and sealers, although it was still officially a military town. In 1852 it assumed the role of Tasmania¹s second major centre and was proclaimed a municipality. Launceston, which was briefly called Patersonia, was named after Governor King's birthplace in Cornwall, England. Launceston, which is noted for its beautiful 19th-century buildings, is located 199 km north of Hobart on the Tamar River.

Laura—a town established as a railhead for the Palmer River goldfields, and once handling 20,000 passengers a year. Today, Laura is an Aboriginal settlement with a population of less than 100—a small town consisting of a pub, a general store, two service stations, a school, a police station, a health clinic and a few houses. Aboriginal people in the area lived a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle up until the Palmer River gold rush of the 1870s. The surrounding country contains rock shelters with Aboriginal paintings going back 15 000 years. There are numerous art sites in the area, but most of them are not open for general inspection, and only then after formal application to the Aboriginal ranger at Laura. The most accessible are the Split Rock galleries, approximately 10km south of town. Located in Quinkan Country, Far North Queensland. A number of Aboriginal clan groups still inhabit the area, including Gugu Ballanji, Ayapathu, Gugu Minni, Lama Lama—Port Stewart, Lakefield Gugu Thaypan, Northern Kaanju, Gugu Warra, Olkolo, Gugu Yimithirr, Southern Kaanju, Gugu Yulanji, Umpila, Olkolo and Wik peoples.

Laura Basin—the drainage area for the Normanby River and its tributaries. It is a large, sedimentary basin characterised by undulating plains with seasonal swamps and extensive marine plains. Vegetation consists of extensive Eucalyptus and bloodwood woodlands in association with low woodlands of broadleaf tea tree. It takes in most of the Lamalama and Kuu Thaypan language group areas, and the western parts of the Guugu Yimithirr language group area. The Laura Basin lies on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range.

Laura Lowlands—the Laura Basin is a large sedimentary basin that is characterised by undulating plains of colluvial and alluvial derived soils with seasonal swamps, and extensive marine plains. Vegetation consists of extensive eucalyptus and corymbia woodlands in association with low woodlands of broad-leaf tea-tree. As a bio-province it is now referred to as the Laura Lowlands. It takes in most of the Lamalama and Kuu Thaypan language group areas, and the western parts of the Guugu Yimithirr language group area.

lav/lavvy—lavatory; toilet; dunny.

Laver's Hill—a tiny resort of about 250 people situated on a hilltop in the Gippsland region of Victoria. Laver’s Hill is named after a settler from Gippsland who cleared a large tract of land. The district was surveyed and opened for selection in 1891. Located 232km south-west of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road and 10km inland from the coast.

Laverton—a small gold and nickel mining community with a hotel/motel, supermarket, fuel, mechanical repairs, post office, police station and hospital. The nearest community, Warburton, is 560km distant on the Great Central Road by which Laverton itself is accessed. Located in the Central Reserves subregion of the Eastern Goldfields region in Western Australia.

Lawn Hill Gorge—an oasis in a remote region of north-west Queensland. It contains sheer, 60m sandstone cliffs, spring-fed pools, waterfalls, ancient rock art and a wide variety of flora and fauna. The gorge is characterised by deep, permanent, fresh-water pools and by narrow levees at the base of vertical cliffs/bluffs dominated. The levees feature river pandanus, Livistona sp., Leichhardt tree, and tea tree. An aquatic bed in the lower gorge is dominated by Nymphaea violoacea. Fringing wetlands are dominated by sedges, rushes, grasses and ferns. The permanent deep water and fringing habitats provide refuge for a diverse and locally distinct biota in a semi-arid environment. Notable fauna include the rock ringtail possum and a range of freshwater fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The gorge is inhabited by over 160 different types of birds, 17 species of snake, 14 species of bat, 11 different frogs, assorted crocodiles, barramundi, archer fish, and ring-tailed dragons.

Lawn Hill National Park—one of Queensland's largest and most remote parks, distinguished by spectacular gorges and ancient riparian vegetation. Freshwater springs rise spontaneously from the western sandstone plateau, providing habitat for species of freshwater fish. Some parts of the park have remnant rainforest, and large fossil deposits exist in some sections of the sedimentary sandstone. Aboriginal rock paintings can be seen throughout the area. The 12,282ha park in Wakaya country is difficult to get to without a 4WD, and the roads are impassable after heavy rain. Located between Burketown and Camooweal, Gulf of Carpentaria, about 90km west of Gregory.

Lawson, Henry—by the 1890s Australia had been settled for a little more than 100 years and Lawson was arguably the first Australian-born writer who really looked at Australia with Australian eyes, not influenced by his knowledge of other landscapes. He had been born on the Grenfell goldfields in New South Wales on 17 June, 1867, the son of a Norwegian seaman, Niels Larson, who later changed his name to Peter Lawson. He had lived on a selection, had been brought up in bush poverty, had suffered hardship and unemployment, and understood the characters and lifestyles he wrote about. Lawson became one of Australia's most influential writers and his interest in the glorification of shearers and the ridicule of jackaroos became of significant artistic importance. His story, "The Drover's Wife", which is about ordinary people living and subsisting off the land on an Australian selection, is a seminal moment in Australian short fiction.

lawyer vineAcacia colletioides, a climbing vine with thorns that trap the clothing or skin of passers-by. The canes of this plant were once used in the manufacture of verandah and lawn furniture. Also known as wait-awhile, for its propensity of uncomfortably delaying people.

lay a lefty on (someone)—beat, bash, hit, assault.

lay in there—persist, persevere against all odds: e.g., Things have been difficult, but we're still laying in there!

lay it on (someone)—1. ask (someone) for a favour, loan of money etc: e.g., It's about time you laid it on the boss for a raise. 2. to severely chastise, reprimand, scold, abuse, castigate (someone).

lay on—provide; supply: e.g., They're going to lay on all the food and booze at their party

.lay you tens—wager with (someone): e.g., I'll lay you tens that he won't do it.

lay-down misère—a certainty: e.g., It's a lay-down misère that he'll win this election.

Le Géographe—the first of two ships assigned to Nicolas Baudin for his expedition to the Southern Land. He and a large group of scientists left Le Havre in 1800 in two ships, Le Géographe and Le Naturaliste, to complete the French survey of the Australian coastline and to make scientific observations. They set sail in October of 1800, arriving at Cape Leeuwin in May of 1801. By 1803, Baudin and many of the crew were ill. The survey was abandoned, and arrangement made to return the scientific finds to France. Baudin dispatched Le Naturaliste from Port Jackson with its scientific cargo in 1802. Before this, however, he had purchased a third ship in Port Jackson, Casuarina. It was an Australian-built schooner made entirely of local Casuarina wood. Luis de Freycinet was placed in command, and in it he conducted the close inshore survey work that would not have been possible in either of the other two, larger and more cumbersome ships. In September of 1803, Baudin died at Ile de France (Mauritius]. Both the Casuarina and the expedition were then and there abandoned.

Le Naturaliste—the most important French voyage commenced when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered an exploratory expedition to the South Seas, to be led by Nicolas-Thomas Baudin. Napoleon maintained a life-long interest in Australia. He had attempted to join the ill-fated La Perouse expedition, lost without trace in 1788, but had not been accepted. In 1800, as First Consul, he dispatched the corvettes Le Naturaliste and Le Géographe under the command of Captain Baudin on an expedition to the Antipodes. It was the most ambitious scientific expedition assembled by a European power, and its brief was to explore New Holland and, perhaps, along the way find an opening for a French settlement.

leached soils—under this heading are grouped the acid soils of the moderately humid regions where, because of perennially or seasonally abundant moisture, sown pastures and arable agriculture are widespread. These soils also carry the bulk of the useful natural forests of Australia and include the majority of the areas devoted to plantations of exotic and indigenous species. The acid swamp soils with their more or less peaty surfaces, although restricted in area, are widely exploited with the aid of artificial drainage. Together with much smaller areas of neutral to alkaline fen peats, they are devoted mainly to sown pastures and vegetable production. They reach their highest level of productivity in the drained and irrigated swamps of the lower Murray Valley, where carrying capacity exceeds a milking cow to the acre.

lead—(Australian Rules football) run by full-forward out to a position where a team-mate can pass the ball to him.

lead (someone) a merry chase/dance—to cause (unnecessary) trouble, problems, difficulties for (someone); frustrate (someone)

.lead (someone) up the garden path—advise (someone) incorrectly, falsely; mislead (someone); lie to (someone); cheat, con, swindle, hoodwink (someone).

Leadbetter's possum—a small, shy, nocturnal marsupial, highly agile and living only within the tall eucalypt forests within central Victoria. It was originally discovered in 1867 north of the Wonthaggi area of West Gippsland. With sightings few and far between, it was thought that the possum became extinct, with the last sightings in 1909. It was a great surprise to science when the species was rediscovered near Marysville in 1961. Leadbeater's possum is about 40cm in length from nose to tail tip—about half of which is made up the long, club-shaped tail. It has a cute little face with soft, dense fur in a dark greyish-brown colour, a white underbelly, and sharp claws and strong fingers to help them in climb. It is a nimble creature that jumps from branch to branch feeding upon insects living in the foliage.

Leader of the Opposition—a Member of either House that is elected by the Opposition to lead them, and to shadow the Premier.

Leaellynasaura—a small, bipedal, fast-running dinosaur that lived in Australia during the middle Cretaceous Period, roughly 115-110 million years ago, when Australia was still within the Antarctic Circle. Leaellynasaura had large eyes that would have helped it find food during the long, dark polar winters. It was an herbivore and had a tough beak and many self-sharpening cheek teeth. It may have eaten cycads, ferns, and conifers. It had a relatively large brain, a cheek pouch, strong jaws and good eyesight. Leaellynasaura was a hypsilophodont (dinosaurs with high-ridged teeth) but differed from other hypsilophodontids in that its upper hind leg bone structure widened from back to front). Leaellynasaura was named in 1989 after Leaellyn, the daughter of Thomas A. Rich and Patricia Vickers, the namers of the dinosaur.

leafless rock wattleAcacia aphylla, a divaricately branched shrub to 2.3m high. Branchlets rigid, terete, very obscurely ribbed, smooth, glaucous, pruinose, glabrous, coarsely pungent. Phyllodes absent. Inflorescences simple, 1 per axil; peduncles 7mm—10mm long, glabrous; heads globular, 20-30-flowered, bright light golden. Known from only one population in the Darling Range east of Perth and from near Northam, south-western Western Australia. Gazetted a rare species in WA. Confined to granite outcrops on hillsides, in open eucalypt woodland; sometimes growing from crevices within the granite.

leafy sea dragonPhycodurus eques, averaging 30cm, they can grow to 45cm. Being slow moving, the leafy sea dragon relies heavily on its elaborate, leaf-like appendages for camouflage and survival. These 'leafy' appendages are not used for movement; indeed, the body of a sea dragon scarcely appears to move at all. Steering and turning is through movement of tiny, translucent fins along the sides of the head; and propulsion derives from the dorsal fins (along the spine). Their movement is as though an invisible hand were helping, causing them to glide and tumble in peculiar but graceful patterns in slow-motion. This movement mimics the swaying movements of seaweed and kelp. Sea dragons are able to change colour depending on age, diet, location or even their stress level. Sea dragons feed on larval fishes, amphipods and small, shrimp-like crustaceans called mysids ("sea lice"), sucking up their prey in their small mouths. Many of these amphipods feed on the red algae that thrives in the shade of the kelp forests where the sea dragons live. The leafy sea dragon inhabits the rocky reefs and seaweed meadows of Australia's temperate waters, from Geraldton in WA along the southern Australian coastline to Wilson's Promontory in Victoria.

Learmonth Solar Observatory—situated on the remote and rugged North West Cape of Western Australia, between the Indian Ocean and the Exmouth Gulf. Observatory personnel live in the town of Exmouth, about 22 miles north of the observatory. The nearest city is Perth, over 780 miles to the south. The remote location and climate provides the observatory with a pristine radio and optical observing environment. Learmonth averages over 3500 hours of sunshine a year, making it the most cloud-free observatory in the network operated by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

leasehold—land owned by governments on behalf of the people they represent, but leased to specified people or organisations for a specific purpose. Governments retain a variety of controls over how leasehold land is used. About 50% of Australia, mostly in the drier regions, comes under some form of leasehold.

leather—1. a cricket-ball or football. 2. polish or wipe with a leather. 3. beat, thrash (originally with a leather thong).

leatherjacket—1. a crane-fly grub with a tough skin. 2. any of various tough-skinned marine fish of the family Monacanthidae.

leave it!—(see: leave off!)

leave it at that—say, do no more.

leave off!—cease; desist; stop annoying and harassing: e.g., Will you leave off!

leave (someone) for dead—beat (someone) in a contest; out-class, do better than, out-do (someone): e.g., That candidate looks like leaving the others for dead in the coming election.

lech—lecher; debauched, lustful person.


lecturer—a person who lectures, especially as a teacher in higher education, such as at university.

Leealowa—alternate spelling of Alawa.

Leeuwin Current—at 5500km, the world's longest continual coastal ocean current. The Leeuwin current follows the west and south coasts, starting at the North West Shelf, 140km off the remote north-west corner of Western Australia. This warm stream of water is a mechanism for marine animals such as turtles to move from the west to the east. Coral spawning in the Indo-Pacific region coincides with the annual intensification of the current that flows south until it corners, spilling into the Great Australian Bight, the gulf of water that stretches from Western Australia to South Australia. There, winds are generated from the movement of high-pressure systems from north to south in the Southern Hemisphere's winter. It is thought that these coinciding events in the Indian Ocean form a strong linkage with ecosystems to the south by providing a regular influx of nutrients and genetically diverse recruits. Prior to 1980, the Leeuwin Current was indicated on maps as a northerly current. This mistake was not corrected until after the British nuclear testing in the Montebellow Islands resulted in contamination of the Australian mainland.

Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge—a geological feature stretching from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. It is composed mostly of Precambrian hard crystalline rocks (commonly called granite) capped by limestone and occasional sand dunes. The ancient Precambrian granulite and granitic gneiss can be seen at many headlands along the coast and has been dated at 2,000 million to 650 million years old. Capping these rocks is the Tamala Limestone, formed during the Pleistocene epoch (over the last 2 million years) from fragmented shells, calcareous algae and other material such as silica sand, originally laid down as sand dunes. This type of limestone is much softer than the older, crystalline limestones more commonly encountered throughout the rest of the world, making it ideal for the formation of caves. Caves are formed as water seeps or flows through it. Many follow the path of an underground stream or take on a maze-like form if formed at the water table. The calcium carbonate that is dissolved in the seeping water is redeposited to form a vast array of stalactites, shawls, flowstones and other decorations. The young limestone, being particularly soluble, creates exceptionally well-decorated cave chambers.

left holding the baby—left with unwelcome responsibility.

left in the lurch—abandoned in time of need, especially by a friend or lover.

left to the wolves—abandoned, deserted in time of need and support.

left-booter/footer—a Roman Catholic.

leftist—member of the left, or one sympathising with their views.

lefty—1. a punch or hit with the left fist. 2. a left-handed turn in a vehicle: e.g., Chuck a lefty at the next street.

leg—(cricket) the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) in which the striker's feet are placed.

leg man—a man who favours legs as the most desirable attribute of a woman.

leg room—freedom to do as one desires.

Legend of Lasseter’s Reef of Gold—Lasseter’s Reef is one of the gold lodestone legends of Australia. In 1900, Harry Lasseter claimed that while traveling alone from Alice Springs to Carnavon on the west coast, he discovered a reef of gold one metre deep and 16km long. Few believed him, and the task of relocating the vein seemed impossible. In the late 1920s he again publicized his claims in Sydney. A search party was formed, and in 1930 it set out for the trove with Lasseter as guide. After months of fruitless searching, the scheme was abandoned and Lasseter was abandoned with two camels to continue his search for the mythical gold. He was never seen alive again but his diary was found. The diary tells how he pegged the gold only to have his camel bolt, leaving him to wander mad, and eventually die in the Petermann Ranges on the edges of the Gibson Desert.

Legislative Assembly—the Lower House of a bicameral state parliament. The Legislative Assembly historically represents the people, its Members being directly elected. It is also the House that determines which party will be in government. Bills to impose taxes or spend public money may only be initiated in the Legislative Assembly. Also known as the House of Assembly.

Legislative Council—the Upper House of Parliament, traditionally a non-party House. The Leader for the government in the Legislative Council therefore cannot rely upon a vote taken on party lines to ensure the passage of any government bill. The primary function of the Council is as a House of Review: scrutinising proposed legislation that has been passed by the Legislative Assembly; amending legislation the Council considers flawed or inadequate; and acting as a forum for debate; and scrutinising the actions and intentions of Ministers who are Members of the Council.

Leichhardt, Ludwig—(1813-1848) was a German explorer and scientist who came to Australia in 1842 to study its rocks and wildlife. Leichhardt explored parts of Queensland and Northern Territory. While attempting to travel from Moreton Bay (Brisbane) to Perth, his party disappeared.

Leichhardt treeNauclea orientalis, a large fruit-bearing tree with large glossy leaves. It is often found in gallery rainforest along the major rivers in the interior of the Cape York Peninsula, FNQ, or at least near rivers. It has yellow and white flowers. The trunk wood is used for making toy canoes and paddles. Its fruit when crushed with water is used as baby food, and is also used as a medicine for coughs, colds, stomach pains and diarrhea. Towards the end of the Dry the bark can be used as a fish poison in small waterholes.

Leichhardt's grasshopperPetasida ephippigera, a bright red, blue and orange grasshopper named after the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, who reported great numbers of them as he crossed the Arnhem Land plateau in 1845. It's only reappeared on the scientific record recently, around 1973, when the mining industry accessed the grasshopper's territory. Known as Alyurr to the local indigenous population, the insect inhabits the "stone country", especially the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land. Leichhardt's grasshopper is found only in the Northern Territory.

lemon aspen—a small, pale-yellow fruit with a tart, citrus flavor.

lemon gum—any of several trees, usually eucalypts, especially the gum, E. citriodora, having leaves that are strongly lemon-scented.

lemon myrtleBackhousia citriodora is a flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae, genus Backhousia. Named in 1853 by botanist, Ferdinand von Mueller, with the genus named after friend, James Backhouse, quaker missionary and botanist. It is endemic to subtropical rain forests of central and south-eastern Queensland, with a natural distribution from Mackay to Brisbane. Indigenous Australians have long used lemon myrtle, both in cuisine and as a healing plant. The oil has the highest citral purity, typically higher than lemongrass. Culinary lemon myrtle is one of the well known bushfood flavours and is sometimes referred to as the "queen of the lemon herbs". The leaf is often used as dried flakes, or in the form of an encapsulated flavour essence for enhanced shelf-life. The dried leaf has free radical scavenging ability. Antimicrobial lemon myrtle essential oil possesses antimicrobial properties; however the undiluted essential oil is toxic to human cells in vitro. Lemon myrtle is a cultivated ornamental plant. It can be grown from tropical to warm temperate climates, and may handle cooler districts provided it can be protected from frost when young. In cultivation it rarely exceeds about 5m and usually has a dense canopy. The principal attraction to gardeners is the lemon smell which perfumes both the leaves and flowers of the tree. Lemon myrtle is a hardy plant which tolerates all but the poorest drained soils The majority of commercial lemon myrtle is grown in Queensland and the north coast of New South Wales. Aboriginal people use B. citriodora for medicine and flavouring. Also known as sweet verbena tree, sweet verbena myrtle, lemon scented verbena, and lemon scented backhousia. Lemon myrtle is sometimes confused with "lemon ironbark", which is Eucalyptus staigeriana.

lemon squash—(rhyming slang) wash.

lemon time—(Australian Rules football) three-quarter time.

lemon-bellied flycatcherMicroeca flavigaster, lives in the same mangrove environment as the gerygones and has an open cup nest, reputedly the smallest of any bird in Australia. Their nests are typically built on exposed branches in trees on barren salt flats. These nests are therefore exposed to a relatively wide range of ambient temperatures over the day, and eggs left unattended for a long period during the middle of the day will quickly overheat. This presents a dilemma for females, involving a trade-off between minimising activity that might attract nest predators, and minimizing exposure of the eggs to harmful radiation. Thus high nest predation and radiation levels present opposing constraints that limit the range of incubation options available to females of this species.

lemon-scented gumCorymbia citriodora (previously Eucalyptus citriodora), a medium-sized to tall tree, having leaves with a strong scent of citronella when crushed. It has a smooth, white bark with a powdery surface. Leaves are alternate and pale green. Natural distribution is in Queensland from Maryborough to Mackay and in a limited area in the higher, drier country of Atherton, Herberton and Mount Garnet.

lemonade- 7-Up.

Lennard Gorge—a narrow gorge featuring a cascading waterfall after a good wet season. The falls, located in the King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park, tumble off red rocks and plunge into the gorge below. The road to this gorge is for experienced 4WD drivers only. Lennard Gorge is located eight kilometres off the Gibb River Road 127 kilometres from Derby.

Lennard River—drains the inland ranges before undergoing a name change to the Meda River and flowing across vast alluvial floodplains. Closer to the coast the Meda River becomes extensively braided and segmented, forming numerous tributaries. Many of these do not make it to the ocean, instead disappearing into large expanses of tidal flats or into the deep coastal basin sediments.

Leopold orchidDiuris pardina can be distinguished from other Diuris orchids by its more intense flowering markings and the reddish-purple stems. Its distribution extends from southern South Australia through southern Victoria and Tasmania.

leprechaun—an Irishman.

Leptospermum—family Myrtaceae. Commonly known as 'tea-trees', a genus of about 86 species, distributed throughout Australia and extending to Malaysia and New Zealand. About 83 species occur in Australia, all but two endemic. The common name tea-tree derives from the practice of early settlers of soaking the leaves of several species in boiling water to make a tea substitute. Most Leptospermum species make desirable garden plants. Flowers are mostly large, up to 3cm in diameter, and they are hardy in most soils and aspects. Most of the L. scoparium cultivars are prone to scale and the associated black smut. Many Leptospermum species make useful screen plants as most have a tight, compact growth.

Leptospermum wooroonooran—an erect, compact shrub with bronze-tipped new growth and small, white flowers in spring or early summer. Very adaptable in most soils and aspects. This species has only been in cultivation for a few years. At the summit of Mount Bellenden Ker, where this species is endemic, it forms trees to 13m with light brown trunks 60cm in diameter. These are often blown over by cyclones.

lerp—scales formed as protective coverings on eucalypts by some bugs of the subfamily Spondyliaspidinae (family Psyllidae). Lerps can take various shapes and are formed largely from honeydew.

lesser bilby—(see: lesser rabbit-bandicoot).

lesser rabbit-bandicootMacrotis leucura, last reported alive in north-eastern South Australia in 1931 and is now presumed extinct. This bandicoot had white fur along the top of its tail and was smaller and less colourful than the greater bilby. The lesser rabbit-bandicoot (aka lesser bilby) closed the entrance to its burrow when inside. It was noted to feed on small rodents and mice, as well as seeds. Females reared up to two young at a time.

lesson—(Australian Rules football) a drubbing.

Lesueur, Charles-Alexandre—born in Le Havre in January 1778, Charles-Alexander Lesueur was the son of a naval officer. He loved drawing, especially natural history, and wanted to travel to far-off lands. He joined the Baudin expedition as a crew member but, like Petit, was able to take over as an expedition artist when the official artists resigned. Lesueur became the natural history artist, and his images of Australia's exotic marine life are particularly striking.

Lesueur National Park—protects spectacular landforms underlain by complex geological features. Its exceptionally diverse flora of more than 820 species accounts for 10 per cent of the State's known flora. The Mount Lesueur area's strikingly eroded laterite landscape was once dismissed as worthless scrubland, useless to farmers and pastoralists. But it has long been a mecca for botanists, and is now protected in the 26,987ha Lesueur National Park. Together with the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River national parks, Lesueur is one of the most significant areas for flora conservation in south-western Australia. At least 124 bird species also rely on this flora, and the area is critically important to the survival of hole-nesting species such as Carnaby's black-cockatoo. Lesueur National Park is located east of Jurien Bay in the northern sandplains of Western Australia.

let it rest/ride—refrain from saying, doing or interfering any more.

let the devil take the hindmost—a selfish statement that those following, everyone else, will have to look after themselves.

letters patent—an open document from a sovereign or government conferring a patent or other right.

lettuce—paper money.

Lewis, John—in 1874-75, led a government party to the Lake Eyre region to determine whether its 'waters' could be navigated, and to explore and survey country east and north of the lake. He reported that large numbers of Aborigines lived in the area with obvious water availability. This area of the desert would have supported quite a population compared to areas (especially to the north) that relied on wells.

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